Urban leases


I wish to comment on an article (Monday April 9) by Southern Highlands Governor William Powi on his proposal to legislate a law barring any sale of State land under the urban development lease (UDL) process.
For the benefit of the governor, he needs not waste his time and efforts to look any further as the UDL procedure with its stringent
processes and requirements are already in place under current legislations.
It is the lack of management or stringent monitoring of UDL leases, as well as normal State lease terms and conditions, by Department of Lands and Physical Planning that should be blamed for the problems or issues.
UDLs are granted over any identified vacant Government land within our towns and cities for a period of five years for services by approved private developer(s).
UDL procedures are designed to enable private developer(s) to submit their initial overall sub-division designs and survey details with necessary service installations to be developed through to the physical planning board.
UDL developer(s) are required to install infrastructure services covering water and sewerage reticulation, electricity provision, telecommunications, road and drainage, landscaping and other services.
Lands and Physical Planning is required to constantly monitor and manage the services development progress to ensure the UDL terms and conditions, and the State agency’s requirements are being complied with during the actual works period.
The State, upon being satisfied with the completed UDL sub-division service installations, then prepares individual leases for the whole UDL sub-division and allocates or issues them to the private developer(s).
Land laws clearly state that lessees or lease holders cannot sell vacant and undeveloped State land or leases.
If there are instances of such happening in Mendi, then Lands and Physical Planning should assist to physically inspect these undeveloped leases and accordingly instigate forfeiture actions.
There are established checks and balance mechanism within the office of the registrar of titles, which must be stringently adhered to and applied in curtailing such illegal sales of vacant and undeveloped State leases.
The onus is on Lands and Physical Planning to address on behalf of the Southern Highland provincial government and administration.
Hopefully the foregoing clarifies the concerns raised regarding UDL leases and or State leases in Mendi.

Lawrence Billy
Hospital Hill , Lae

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